Things That Go Beep In The Night

How much is the average carp angler willing to spend on tackle?

It’s an interesting question considering the massive consumerism that goes with carping.  The reasons for me writing this blog comes from having what was almost a very heated conversation/debate with a guy the other week over the prices of bait and tackle items.  The guy in question was very anti certain brands that charge a premium price for their goods, and on some points I struggled to counter his arguments.

original optonic bite alarm

Where it all started…

I understand that certain things are expensive. His point was backed up with how everything in carp fishing is shoved in your face to make you buy it.. well turn on the telly and it’s also full of adverts pushing various consumerables.

Then I was hit with the classic line, that if the guy went fishing with me he would catch far more with his cheap rods than I would with mine (my Centurys hardly cost me a fortune but I’m very happy with them). Well some people are competitive, but I certainly am not.  If the fishing is off and I blank it’s not the end of the world, I’d rather concentrate on myself and what I’m doing right or wrong.

I play the guitar and there’s a phrase that often gets used and it goes like this: a good player can make a cheap guitar sound good, but a bad player can’t make an expensive guitar sound good. Well if a novice angler wants to spend a thousand pounds on a set of rods because he can, or he desperately wants to, I think that’s absolutely fair play to him.  It is a good idea to balance your tackle to suit how you fish, most people can’t afford to or won’t buy different sets of rods and reels for different situations.  A bit of common sense about what you’re going to be doing with your setup is advisable.

Getting back to the conversation… the most venom from the guy was directed at bite alarms, he expressed complete disgust at what some of them cost.  I was posed with the question; ‘what’s the difference between a twenty quid and a hundred and twenty quid alarm?.. they both only go beep’.  Receiver boxes got a hammering too, something along the line of ‘if you can’t wake up from the noise outside a bivvy, you shouldn’t be night fishing’ and ‘anyone that pays five hundred quid for a set of buzzers and a receiver is not right in the head’.

Top end alarms are a lot of money and i’ve often thought that there is a gap in the market for some of the really big tackle companies to sell a set aimed at the mid price range.  Imagine if Korda with their massive brand awareness, branched out and sold a set of three alarms and a receiver for around two fifty to three hundred pounds; I think the sales would be massive.

Delkim Optonic bite alarm

Who remembers these?

So I left the conversation without being able to really justify the price of carp tackle to him (I still think that certain things are overpriced, but that could be another blog in the future, so I’ll keep quiet).  A couple of days later I was thinking about the conversation/one sided argument and there was one point that really stood out to me… ‘they both only go beep’.

Fair point, but what about the times they don’t go beep.  What about freezing cold nights in winter when you’re desperate for just one fish at a time and it doesn’t go beep.  Maybe you’re targeting a specific fish and that one time he takes your hook bait and it doesn’t go beep.  How much do you trust your alarms? I don’t want to knock any manufacturer, because i’m sure there are some really great cheap alarms.  But how important is it to have complete confidence when it really matters?  I’ve owned alarms from all over the price range, I started with budget alarms that would scream off for no reason and only gurgle for the real takes. I bought a set named after a well know super hero that didn’t want to adhere to the basic principles of what a bite alarm should actually do, I even used to take spare alarms with me because certain ones were so unreliable.

These are the most important purposes of a bite alarm for me:- it has to be reliable, it needs to survive all weather conditions, I need it to let me know when the batteries are getting flat and I want it to beep when and in the manner it needs to.

A couple of guys I know both bought matching presentation alarm and receiver kits from the internet a few years ago.  They were manufactured in America and when one person got a run the other person’s receiver picked it up; an unnecessary problem, especially at night.  Another great thing about the well know big manufacturers is the after sales service.  I bought a set of Nash RS1 Sirens when they first came out and had a problem with one of the heads after a year, I sent all three alarms and receiver back to them and they sent me a brand new set straight away and the communications from them was fantastic.  You really do get what you pay for.  My good friend Stewart uses Delkims and he had a slight buzz from the receiver which he sent back to them and got a fresh one straight away, no hassle.

Will they still work when it's freezing?

Will they still work when it’s freezing?

In summary, if I work out what i’ve spent on alarms in the past that have gone wrong or i’ve not been happy with, the amount would be very close to what i actually paid for the Sirens.  I have wasted money by buying cheap alarms only to buy a more expensive set in the long run.  Quality stuff should last you ages, it’s an investment and once you’ve got it, good alarms will pay for themselves over the many years of long service.  It’s the same with rods, reels, bivvies, everything.

Ebay can have some great deals on second hand tackle, or even people you know or friends of friends might have good quality gear to sell.  There’s no shame in buying second hand;  its not about having the most expensive stuff, its about having what you are prepared to spend YOUR hard earned money on and getting the maximum enjoyment from it.

Cheers for reading
Andy Gilbert


7 thoughts on “Things That Go Beep In The Night

  1. Duncan de Gruchy says:

    Some good points there Andy. I tend to spend a little more on alarms then perhaps I could do, mainly because of the reliability issue. If I am going to spend hours on the bank with nothing happening then I really do want to know when it does! As you say though, its down to personal choice and if someone wants to spend their hard earned money on a set of high quality alarms then why not?

  2. Paul Cooper says:

    Hi Andy
    A few years ago I was walking around Lidl and spotted 3 bite alarms for around £20, batteries not included. I thought, Why not and bought them.
    I was on the Mangrove one damp rainy day when my ever so reliable Delkim’s(NOT), decided to pack up. Out came one of my cheapies from Lidl and that evening I had a 35lb common on a drop back indication on my Lidl life saver. The alarm was loud enough and certainly gave me the indication that I needed to strike into a fish. I have since retired my 4 Delkims with the TX200 transmittters to the shed after around 15 returns back and forward for repair. Four the past 4 years I have used the ATTX Gardner alarms. Brilliant and cheap. Not only can they get damp and work when it rains, you can immerse them in water and they still work.
    Paul Cooper

  3. Pat Gillett says:

    Hi Andy,
    I have had the Gardner ATTs alarms with the ATTX reciever (as Paul mentions) for a few seasons , good, simple and totally weatherproof. You will easily get a set of 3 plus the reciever for the £250 to £300 pounds you quote in the article.
    Pat Gillett

  4. Andy Gilbert says:

    There seem’s to be a lot of love for the Gardner ATT’s, I had a look at them a few years ago when i wanted a change of alarms. The water proofing aspect of an alarm was really important for me when choosing what i wanted. The Nash RS1 receiver swung it for me, as it floats and being a clumsy sod i’m liable to drop anything in the water. When i fished Margot a few years ago i somehow punted one of the RS1 heads about ten foot into the lake, it took me about an hour to find it but still works beautifully. Ha ha i didn’t know Lidl sold any fishing tackle, there will probably be a very confused manager in a few months wondering why bite alarm set sales are way up. I’ve been getting a few leaflets through the post in the last couple of days and see that Fox do a few presentation sets at various prices, Nash have got new alarms out so maybe the mid price range is getting more competitive. Has anyone used or come across the bite alarms built into the buzz bars? It’s a bizarre looking setup and i’m curious to know what their like.

  5. Mark says:

    Top end alarm systems are a great deal of cash and i’ve frequently thought that there is a space in the market for a few of the truly big deal with companies to offer a set intended at the mid price array. Think of if Korda with their large brand awareness, branched off and sold a set of three alarm systems and a receiver for around 2 fifty to 3 hundred pounds; I think the sales would be enormous. Read articles on

  6. Shaun Harrison says:

    Just to add my tuppence worth. I was a Delkim user for many years and still use them for very delicate work for still water perch etc as well as for open bail arm techniques when angling for catfish or pike as the vibration mode works so much more effectively than the wheel and magnet type alarms when minimal friction/resistance can be allowed.

    A few months before the launch of the ATTs system I was asked if I would try a set and give my honest view on them.

    Here we are many years on and they are still the only alarms I use for my carp angling despite having a perfectly functioning set of Delkims. I can say hand on heart I have never suffered a single problem with my ATTs system and that is after having them freeze in a solid block in a minus 18 wind chill in Texas as well as several dunks in the lake – I am a tad clumsy at times.

    My Delkims had a couple of dunks in the lake and survived but they did take a few days to dry out on each occasion. The ATTs system has worked the moment it has been recovered from the lake.

    A lot of money can be saved on bite alarms as it can on shelters and beds but when it comes down to comfort and reliability, I like to stick with what I know. If I have to worry about an item of tackle possibly letting me down, it gets replaced.

  7. Shaun Harrison says:

    I never thought I would have to be a mathematician to be able to post on a blog 🙂

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